Somolekae defies the odds
Notwane chairman Arnold Somolekae defied the odds to beat Gaborone United chairman Fidelis Nkomazana and become the new chairman of Botswana Premier League (BPL) in a closely contested election held during a BPL board meeting this past Saturday.
Somolekae was the dark horse as he was contesting for the coveted position against Nkomazana who was touted as favorite to win the race given his tenure as BPL vice chairman in recent years. Gazette Sport previously reported that there was an initial succession plan at play, in which Nkomazana would inherit the BPL chairmanship if Mokganedi Molefe stepped down earlier. However, the BPL board scuttled the succession plan as they opted for an election in the interest of fairness to other aspiring chairmen. Before the election, Jagdish Shah of Township Rollers, Kelesitse Gilika of BMC and Solomon Mantswe of Police XI were also mentioned as contenders for the post. The trio were were believed to have better chances of winning than Somolokae. Shah’s business acumen fitted the BPL’s commercialization aspirations well; Gilika was been seen as a long term appointment while Mantswe’s experience and previous stint as board member was an advantage. However, Somolekae shocked the local football fraternity when he rose against all odds to assume the highest position within the BPL.
The Notwane chairman earned the respect of his peers after steadying the ship at his club following the controversial stint of one Gift Mogapi, who left the club in disarray last season. His successor was left with the daunting task of restoring order to a club that was beleaguered by player disputes, lost sponsorships and payment disputes. Somolekae came in and restored order back to Notwane. He rose to prominence in the BPL last year December after Notwane’s mother body elected him chairman of a newly formed sub-committee tasked with running the club. Under Somolekae, Notwane rarely made headlines for negative off field problems. He garnered nine votes while Nkomazana got seven. Somolekae’s vice chairman is Monnakgotla Mojaki.